Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 years. Okay, okay, now it's been 9 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Noon at the Alameda

Hola! There are clouds over the top of Mt Alamos today. That means rain soon. We can only hope. I am watering the yard everyday now and once the rains come, I can stop.Let's go for a quick walk. We will hurry so we can get back before it gets to hot to be out walking.
I have a couple of errands to do and maybe we will get a treat or lunch.


First I need to go to the Post Office, Oficina de Correo. I have shown you this before, but the office has moved and is no longer in the busy, noisy Palacio. It is now on a quiet street off the church, next to the library.



Now we need to pay the phone bill, so we are going over to Polo's Restaurant. There are three places in town where one can pay Telmex, but I like Polo's, so we are going there. It, too, is right off the Church Plaza.

Now, most of our errands are done, not too bad. We are going to claim the spot below in the Alameda and have a snack.




Papaya, mango, watermelon, coconut, oranges, cucumbers and jicama, this is a fruit and vegetable 'mixto'.



Now we'll top that off with a limonada from La Delicia de Michoacan, across the street from the Alameda.










We will have lunch here as well, a slice of Sonoran pizza. This one is cheese, ham, bacon and chilis.
We'll go light on the ketchup and ketchup/mayonaise mixtures in the yellow and red bottles. You do not eat a slice of pizza without adding the condiments.






Now we need to go to one of the markets and get some chicken for Senor to put on the grill tonight. We are going to Bachoco, across from the Alameda.





























Chicken and other meats are presented for purchase in these tubs. The chicken we get is still partially frozen and should stay that way while we walk home.











Before we leave town, let's stop one more time at the Alameda and see what's going on at the noon hour.












video

Friday, May 28, 2010

You Are Done Here

Buenas dias! The full moon last night was beautiful from our backyard. It was so bright that even the man in the moon needed sunglasses!It is so good to be home after such a miserable trip to Hermosillo. However, we did come home to a huge pile of rubble as Umberto continued to take the roof off the old Hilton Garden Room while we were gone. That is good though, it gets us that much closer to the new roof.We left Alamos on Wednesday around 8am and arrived at the immigration building in Hermosillo at 12:20pm, exactly 20 minutes after they closed their doors for the day.

After talking with the guard and hearing more about the new hours we drove an hour and a half back to San Carlos where we had already reserved a room.


If there is one bright event in this trip we made I would say it is staying in San Carlos at the Tetakawi Best Western. It has such a tropical setting, and is across from the sea, very relaxing, great restaurant and always, soccer on the television.








We left the Tetakawi at 6:30 Thursday morning in order to arrive at immigration at 8am. Before leaving Alamos, I googled 'what it takes to renew an FM3' and scoped out the blogs and sites that had updated information about the changes that went in to effect on April 30th.
I had alot of paperwork to take into immigration even though some of the sites said much of that paperwork would no longer be necessary. I felt very prepared.


First in the door, we were thrilled to find the man at the desk spoke English. We told him what we wanted and he proceeded to start the process. By 9am it was looking good. He had been able to locate Senor's application and pulled up mine, had us sign them and even gave us the statement to take to the bank where we would pay for the renewal. Wow, real good, we thought.


He went around the corner and into the back for some reason and he did not return. A non English speaking young woman came back and took over and everything went to hell.


She wanted this and she wanted that and we had it ALL. The bank statements, the utilities, the SAT tax filing, the letters, the photographs. None of it was good enough for her.
The letters, requesting the renewal and stating nothing had changed since last year, which I printed off of a blogsite, were not right. She refused them. By 10 am, after we had rewritten the letters twice, she sat down and wrote the letters herself on the lobby computer and told us to sign them.


Around 10:30am she told us we did not have enough money in our bank account. She said we had to have 44,500 pesos. We argued....................that is not right..............Senor said................ no, it is only supposed to be 1,500 pesos and it is really even less because we own a home. She changed her mind, gave me back the bank statements and began to look at our visas.


By now, a young woman in the lobby is translating for us. The immigration woman gave us a long speech in Spanish. The translation was......you must give up your FM3 and return to a tourist visa...............

OFF WITH HER HEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am almost ready to go ballistic. I could be over that counter in 5 seconds or less!

By now Senor is patting my hand telling me to take deep breaths.

We own a home! We can't have a tourist visa! Look at the utilities we pay! For gods sake we have a friggin' deed here to the casa! We pay Mexican taxes! We already have FM3's! What is wrong with you? Are you crazy? I do not say any of this, deep breathe, deep breathe...........says Senor.

She goes around the corner and into the back room. The translator girl who has been so kind to help us has to leave. OMG, I am going to scream.

Nurse Ratchet, who cannot be more than 25 years old, returns from the back and points to Senor's application. I have accidentally put Washington as Senor's place of birth. She calls me on it and is not happy. Senor says........oh, let's just cross it out, it should be Minnesota. She smiles at him and she leads me to the computer in the lobby and tells me to do it over. So I do that.

It is now 10:45 am.
I tell her the new application is done. Senor has checked it twice now as I have caused the delay in the first place. The building is getting on my nerves. The air is humid. The lobby is filled with people waiting their turn. There is another helper on the scene. Nurse Ratchet takes EVERYTHING we have and goes around the corner.

The English speaking man comes back to the counter! YES!!! I feel great!
You need to go to the bank and pay..........he says...........But all of a sudden she is back, the woman from hell, who is trying to be nice enough, but is really a very deep thorn in my side by now.................photografias............she says, where are they? Of course I have them and pull them out, passport size, very recognizable, nice looking couple, just up for the day, just want to renew their FM3's.

WRONG size, she says.....................they have to be infantile size...................4 fronts and 2, right side only.............................and she looks at me..........................your hair must be completely off your face.
I am going to explode.

We have to go looking for a Kodak shop and get new photos. An American couple has come to the counter for their turn. The man says to the English speaking man that their FM3's expired in June of 2009 and could they just get that new combination FM3/FM2. I am staring at the them in disbelief.

Another American couple has come from Kino Bay to renew their FM3's and did not know they had to file applications online.
Nurse Ratchet asks ME to 'explica' that to them and I want to shove my fist in her face. But I 'explica' because I am a nice person most of the time. The wife begins to fill out the online application, her husband tells us where the Kodak shop is and we blast out of there.

The KODAK shop is absolutely not where the man said it was and by 11:00 I am going to break down, running in to this shop and then that shop to try and find someone who can tell us where it is. Senor turns right and there is the KODAK.
We rush in, get infantile photos, there is a special going on, we get 8 for the price of 6. Just give us the photos please!

Look! There is a bank across the street! We rush in and show them the immigration statements and pay the bank, 2,10.00 pesos each, ask for separate receipts and drive back to immigration.

We walk into immigration at 11:40am.
A new American is sitting in the front row, he says................you have to take a number.
OFF WITH HIS HEAD TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I walk straight up to the counter and shove the photos and bank receipts into the hands of the English speaking man. He stops what he was doing with another person and looks on his computer where he can tell that we did truly pay the bank.

He looks at us and says.......................you are done here.........come back in 2 weeks.....................

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This L Shaped Space

Buen dia!!!

Look at our Fuego (fire ) tree. The leaves of these trees are lacy long fingers that float up and down and sway back and forth in the breeze. They remind me of hula girl skirts.

They make brilliant fire colored orange and yellow flowers that begin as soft green balls on the leaves. Our trees are slightly over a year old and to have one come into bloom so soon is really exciting. The L shaped area where this particular fuego lives is sun filled, so we think that is why it has bloomed first. None of the others, which get half of this one's sun, show any signs of blooming.
Look through the columns below to the white plastered wall way out at the end of the yard.

here it is a little closer.......................you can see the stable is to the right.


a little closer..............the pine tree from Christmas before last is there..................the truck cab is there..............................a huge old mesquite hangs over the wall................




this is an old area......................... L shaped, outlined by old over sized and uneven bricks, but the plastered wall is strong.........................




In the last photo below, looking back to the casa...........you can see the L shape is a distance away......there is no winter sun here............and very hot in the summer................
what to do with this area..................any suggestions?




Manana we go to Hermosillio to renew our FM3. The renewal routine has been changed. As of April 30th, one must go online and fill out an application, submit it online and print the application and take it to the Immigration office. Supposedly, we do not need copies of our bank statements or utility bills any longer, but I just spoke with a friend who went last week to renew at the Guaymus office and did not take those things with her. She had to return to Alamos, gather those things and go back to Guaymus. We are not taking any chances..............everything but the kitchen sink goes with us manana.




So, I went online to fill out the applications. I did Senor first. After filling out the application, I chose guardar (save) and his application disappeared. A number popped up on the screen along with a message telling me to save this number. So I wrote it down.



I did my application. Before I hit guardar, I printed it. I hit guardar and got my number.



We also need to take a letter stating that we want to renew and remain in the country. But we have always taken a letter requesting that. We will also be taking our paperwork that shows we have filed our Mexican taxes.



Now Immigration is issuing little green cards that look like drivers' licenses instead of the multi paged little booklets.
We will just see if we can get one for Senor without his application which is lost somewhere in cyberspace..............oh, I will keep you posted..............time for my siesta........ adios, linda lou








Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Going Green

Buenas tardes....it is ninety-eight here, but only thirty percent humidity and a fine strong wind, at our place, nice enough if you are smart and stay out of the shade.


Early this morning I took several photos of our gorgeous blue vine that grows against the shaded west side of the stable. Mexican gardeners call it Baracasana, but its leaves are textured like medium grit sandpaper and that is why, among foreigners, it is called the sandpaper vine.

When the flowerlets first emerge they are green and then they turn vivid blue and depending upon how much sunlight they get, they can turn dark purple. Today I decided to return the accessory and baked two kind of cookies to give the Bomberos as a thank you.


First I baked Lime Cookies, our favorite, and it is basically a sugar cookie with several teaspoons of grated lime in it.





I wanted to bake peanut butter cookies, but good grief, we are out of peanut butter. I found a jar of nutella, which is a blend of hazlenut and chocolate and used that instead of peanut butter.
New favorite cookie.................




Yum, all baked in the nine by twelve toaster oven.................one baking sheet in the oven eight times.





Wrapped and ready to go to the bomberos.




I also needed to pay the water bill and pay the electric bill and get new dirt for the new palms and take my friend Techa some sweets and deliver a bracelet and earrings custom order and get some fruit from the market. I also wanted to see if the farmacia has the clear arnica gel I have been using on my ankle. Because I am still hobbling around and the ankle is a little painful, I asked Senor to drive me to do all this. He has this clever skill of raising just one eyebrow and slowly closing the lid of the other eye. Of course, I know what that means, but he drove me anyway.

The bomberos really lit up when they saw the cookies but they were not so sure I should be returning the crutches.
The nursery was closed, we did not have enough cash for the electric bill and there was a line at the bank. At the Palacio where we pay the water, policia would not let us park, so I got out of the truck and Senor then had to park several blocks away. I could see him far ahead and walked carefully back to the truck. Policia apologized as I left the building and helped me down the steps.


Techa was not home so I put the sweets on her portal and I did not see the man who ordered the jewelry. I chose to not even bring up the market.





Senor was in a hurry to get home to this.


The rebar is in the wall and soon he will be constructing the wood form that will make a huge column to match the other one in the photo. This column will help hold the beam that will span the width of the four open rooms that will become one.
The wall the ladder is propped up against, other wise known as the kitchen tool room, will come down and that room will be open to the others........................ is that making sense? it makes my head swirl.
So, I only completed a few of my chores.
As we drove through the alameda, I noticed the farmacia I wanted to go into was closed, maybe for siesta. I have been using a clear arnica gel that I bought, for under five US dollars, there last year. Back in the states we used arnica alot for soccer injuries, but it was terribly expensive, several ounces for over fifteen US dollars. A natural plant product, made in Mexico, it is great for relieving trauma. Good for ankle sprains and swelling. But I have run out of the clear sweet smelling gel.
However I have another arnica, one that I bought in Guadalajara several years ago. This stuff never goes bad, it lasts for years and years. The only thing is this is a pomade, thick and gooey like hair pomade that little boys in dance class used to use. And once you put it on, it goes with you everywhere and if you rub up against something, it sticks. Rub up against the cat, cat hair pomade.............. dirt? dirt pomade.....................bobo gnats? bobo pomade......................grass and little leaves in the wind? grass and leaf pomade................cross your legs? double whammy.......


and even worse? it is green..........................



adios for now! linda lou

Monday, May 17, 2010

Slowly Using up the Rubble Pile



Buen dia! Here is one of our lovely plumerias, covered in cinnamon sweet pink flowers and Christmas tree lights.


I was not a happy person on crutches. On Sunday evening I decided I had had enough. My ankle is still very swollen, bruised and tender, but I can walk on it and more importantly, I can get to work on a few things in the yard.
In case you are curious about how I spent my sedentary days, look below. I went into my talavera paint mode. Weeks ago I bought a napkin holder at the Navajoa market. It was plain wood, so I painted it. I am planning to paint the white box as well, but that is on hold as I am on the move again. The candlestick is a work in progress. Senor continues to believe it is something he would have done in kindergarten, but I am inspired and think it will come together.
Notice the chosen drink to work with, also found at the market in Navajoa.




So, I am thrilled to be slowly back to doing some things outside.
We have a new worker, Chuey, a young kid who is busy diminishing the size of the rubble pile while Senor and Umberto work on the roof beams.
Chuey is cleaning cement off the old ladrillos in the pile and moving them to the location below. We will be using these old bricks to make our raised winter garden bed. Did you believe me when I said we are trying to reuse everything?
He is also making a stack for me and I am then breaking them apart into smaller pieces and creating borders around some of the plant beds.


Yesterday I was getting bored with doing that and I suddenly realized I had not gone anywhere in almost a week. So Senor kindly drove us to Navajoa and we came home with three new palms.






In the evenings we are still finding ourselves outside. The West Wing will be used more, I think, when the rains come. For now, we enjoy the view and light the citronella candles and spray ourselves with mosquito repellant and rub gnat lotion all over our faces. Fortunately, we are having nice breezes and neither of the two insects are attacking us on a regular basis.





You can see the rubble pile of old adobes is still being moved below where it will continue to be broken down and used for the portal floor foundation.


It is still quite early in the morning and the sun is not too hot, so I think I will go out and make certain we are still using up rubble in as many ways as possible.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Accessories

Buenas tardes. This was Tuesday morning's lovely sunrise, accessorized with blue and seen through the new leaves of some of the trees.

We have been here, for almost two years now, and in that time I have noticed alot of accessories.

Some people have white casts on their arms, some folks get a blue one. A Mexican man I know got a white cast and his daughter covered it in Cinderella wrapping paper. He was cleaning a neighbor's pool and trying hard not to get the paper wet.

A foreign lady I know had a cast that went from her ankle to above her knee and she had a brand new pair of crutches that someone went and picked up for her at the Obregon Wal-Mart.

Sometimes people have on neck braces. A lady that I worked with a DIF had on a neck brace one day and she was still managing to hold her two little babies, one in each arm. Another woman from DIF, was outside the Palacio one day and she had a cast on her left foot and a large wrap around her right ankle. I asked what happened and I am pretty certain she said she did not know.

A foreign man broke his wrist and his arm when he was looking up and should have been looking down. He only recently got his cast off after two months.

There is a man that I see frequently, early in the morning. He is usually on his bike. Lately he has been on a small horse and his left foot is wrapped in a bright blue handkerchief.
The little boy up the street was skateboarding with his friends and sprained his collarbone. He has on a little white neck brace..........


In our yard we have lots of ups and downs, lots of places where one must be looking down and not up. Mainly they are little tiny hills where Umberto has piled dirt up on either side of cement so he can get the wheelbarrow up and over the cement. I always look down when I go up and over these little hills of dirt, which are always hard, but slick with tiny pebbles.
I do not want an accessory.



On Tuesday evening, I went up and over one of these hard little dirt hills, just like I do every day when I water plants. The new bouganvillia shoots and brilliant purple flowers caught my eye. I looked up when I should have been looking down. It was not comparable to a Disney thrill ride.


A friend went down and got these, on loan, from the Bomberos.


Only an ankle sprain, but I have been accessorized.